HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command employee was recognized earlier this month by the organization Blacks in Government for her dedication and life work for the organization and her community.

Mary Peoples, equal employment manager for SMDC, received the BIG's Distinguished Service Hall of Fame award Aug. 15, at the organization's Awards Reception Program.

"I was very pleased and honored when I learned I was nominated for the award," Peoples said.

The award is limited to five people each year, and recipients are voted on by delegates attending the organization's business meeting.

"I am grateful toward the chapter and region for recognizing my contributions to the organization," Peoples said. "And I am very excited that a large number of members throughout the national organization voted for me to receive the award."

Nominees must have a minimum of 15 years of active BIG participation, which Peoples easily passed with her 22 years of service. In addition, Peoples initiated actions to establish the Huntsville BIG chapter in 1989.

She has served in most chapter officer positions, including president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, historian, bylaws chair and finance chair, and she has served as the chapter's regional chair for most of her years of service.

During her presidency, she led a number of chapter initiatives including: sponsorship of community job employment workshops with local private companies and federal agencies; a community federal employment workshop to acquaint local residents about Base Realignment and Closure positions coming to Redstone Arsenal; presentation of community outreach awards to local and federal retirees, inducting them into the chapter's hall of fame; and developing policies and procedures for the chapter's operation.

Peoples is also credited with establishing a Communications Academy, a youth program for students from predominantly black high schools with chapter members serving as presenters, and for making substantial contributions to BIG through constitutional amendments and resolutions submitted and policies and procedures proposed. She has also been very active in local private and government organizations.

Peoples has worked for SMDC since 1985.